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YMCA seeks $1.5 million for repairs, expansion

January 14, 2002

YMCA seeks $1.5 million for repairs, expansion



By RICHARD F. BELISLE / Staff Writer


CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Chambersburg Memorial YMCA covers about 11,000 square feet and the fact that the entire building has only one thermostat is an example of why it's launching a $1.5 million fund-raising campaign next month.

About half of the money raised in the drive will pay for much needed repairs and upgrades to the main YMCA building, which was built in 1956. Half will pay to add another 5,400 square feet of new program space.

The YMCA's board of directors originally planned to raise $3.3 million but narrowed the goal to $1.5 million after officials feared the community would not support a campaign of that magnitude, said David Matthews Jr., YMCA executive director.

"Our wish list was $3.3 million," Matthews said. At that amount, the YMCA could have renovated its original 1956 pool and built a third pool, he said.

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The second pool was built in 1976 during the first expansion of the facility. A second expansion in 1985 added a fitness center, a gym and locker rooms. The fitness center was expanded again in 1998.

Donations to the 2002 campaign will be in the form of annual pledges spread over five years, Matthews said. Up to 400 volunteers will serve on committees to solicit money from corporations, professionals, church and service clubs, YMCA members, individuals and grants and foundations.

The campaign begins Feb. 15 and runs through July 31, said Clint Bolte, co-chairman of the drive.

Construction will bring both wings of the existing building at 570 E. McKinley St. even with the front entrance. A new entrance will be built and a second floor added for a multi-purpose room and classrooms.

A new, separate teen center will provide space for computers, a meeting place, study and audio/visual areas plus table games and a snack station.

The YMCA's current baby-sitting facility is being used beyond its design capacity, Bolte said. The expansion will provide more space for pre-school programs, the kids care center and the after-school fun club. "The kids care area has absolutely exploded," he said.

The YMCA owns four school buses that make stops at 19 schools in the Chambersburg Area School District to pick up children for the afternoon programs, which run until 5:30 p.m., said Carla Hallar, membership coordinator.

The 7,000-square-foot fitness center will be expanded by 2,000 square feet to accommodate additional strength and cardio-vascular equipment designed for youth and teenagers. Families will be able to work out together, Bolte said.

Another 576 square feet will be used for a chapel and conference room.

The front reception area will be expanded for conversation, vending and administrative areas.

The building will get new heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. The pool areas are especially in need of better ventilation, Matthews said.

Many windows in the original building are single pane. They will be replaced with energy-efficient windows.

The YMCA operates on an annual budget of about $1 million, Matthews said. It has 18 full-time employees, nearly 90 part-time workers and about 300 volunteers who give their time for a variety of programs throughout the year.

The Chambersburg Memorial YMCA was named in honor of the 92 borough residents who were killed during World War II and the six who died in the Korean War.

A plaque listing the names of the fallen, along with a new one with the names of eight people who died in the Vietnam War, is in the front entrance.

The YMCA will hold its annual open house Jan. 20.

The YMCA has a membership of about 3,700, Hallar said. Monthly membership fees are $32.50 for adults and $48.75 for families. The Web site is at www.chbgy.org.

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